• U.S.

Marriage: The Power of Perseverance

1 minute read
TIME

Americans’ affection for divorce may finally be waning. In 1982 the number of U.S. divorces declined for the first time in 20 years, according to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics. The divorce rate, which measures marriage breakups per 1,000 people, also dipped, by 6%. That drop “was more precipitous than any annual decline since the steep, but temporary, surge in marriages and divorces in the aftermath of World War II,” said Demographer Barbara Foley Wilson, who wrote the study. The actual numbers, though, are not all that heartwarming: in 1982 divorces decreased by only 43,000, from a record high of 1,213,000 in 1981.

Larry Bumpass, a sociologist at the University of Wisconsin, thinks divorce numbers are falling because there are fewer marriages today, and Americans have begun to marry later. Wilson’s report notes that most divorces occur fairly early in marriage, half within seven years, and only 10% of men and 7% of women getting divorces are over 50.

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